Healer of The Heart
Throughout human history healers and shamans have played an important part of medicine and culture. Their sometimes ridiculed and alienated behavior, has managed to give us a deeper understanding of the psychology beyond cure. Despite disbelief and rejection we have discovered that healing can occur through meta-physical events.
As doctors, psychologists and nurses, we are equally sanctioned to practice healing. The main difference is that we lack the strength of having a clear socio-cultural, religious and spiritual acceptance 4. We are legally accepted practitioners of health, and we cure the body and the mind. We have no clear concept of healing the soul since it hasn’t been a part of our educational concept and normal practice. Scientific training has by historical secularized reasons dealt with thinking as the only answer in search of the holy grail of science. The body has been left to the doctor and the soul to the priest. It should though be possible to unite science and spirituality for the benefit of mankind.
Some researchers like Strupp 5, claim that the modern psychotherapist relies to a large extent on the same psychological mechanisms used by the faith healer, shaman, physician, and priest. The results as reflected by the evidence of therapeutic outcomes appear to be substantially similar.
The Artist of the Heart was an early psychiatrist, when he assisted anxious people to access Imhoteps dream temples in ancient Egypt. And long before Freud made his dream interpretation, dream temples became a part of ordinary peoples contact with deeper aspects of themselves and the spiritual world. During this time it was easier since many religions were still to come, and religious leaders were not yet present to claim the spiritual world as their divine personal property. This historic secularization made people seek alternative medicine. It seems that in this environment we have been able to re-establish the past with the present, despite being taught from early development, to differentiate, judge, and think of separate concepts. As a consequence of these divisions, conflicts and separation have become an integrated part of human existence. Since the birth of industrialization, science has taught us that knowing is valid through thinking and sensing, and how to devalue feelings and imagery. The spirit/soul has been the property of religions, and the body a property of science.
Emperors and Kings have during history been tempted to access the unknown by using state oracles and psychics in order to predict battles and politics. The commoners have equally always been attracted by predictions of the future. Modern leaders have secretly been involved and attracted by remote viewing. All this had one thing in common. They were attempts trying to access information through altered states of consciousness.
Very few succeeded but others persisted trying to find answers beyond and within themselves.
The first President of The Royal Society of Medicine, 1838, John Elliotson, was not only Professor of Medicine but also Professor of “Principles and practice of Physics” at UCH, London. His protégé James Esdaile, a Scottish surgeon working in India, performed several hundred operations painlessly using only hypnosis as an anesthetic whilst in charge of a hospital in India 1845 6.
Ether was introduced by Morton and Professor Elliotson was forced to resign from his post. More than 100 years after Elliotson a new dawn of hypnosis came during the 1970’s. This was possible through major achievements by the American psychologist Milton H Erickson.
Medicine; most psychotherapy and education would have us believe that humans are composed of objective parts, interrelated like parts in an engine that just appear to be organic. By changing and affecting these parts, we can be modified either positively or negatively. But it is impossible to explain thoughts and consciousness by reducing humans to neuro-synaptic firing and neurochemistry.
Current neurobiological descriptions of the brain are based on Newton’s Physics 7, although Newton’s Physics has its limitations. Newton’s Physics is an offshoot of Descartes division of the Universe in matter and spirit 8, and it deals only with matter. As already pointed out, neurobiologists assume that the brain and its parts behave like classical objects, and that quantum effects are negligible, even while the “objects” they are studying get smaller and smaller.
When we try to explain consciousness by reducing it to electrochemical processes, we put ourselves in a situation similar to a scientist who decides to explain electrical phenomena by using gravity. Consciousness is unlikely to arise from classical properties of matter, and the more we understand the structure and the fabric of the brain, the less we understand how consciousness can occur at all. This is well known and well testable. Therefore, as no current brain theories can explain consciousness; a logical explanation is that consciousness must be a physical property.
It is challenging to know that physicist Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty 9, state that by just observing a phenomenon, you will alter the outcome of a certain event or the result of your observation. What makes our reality even more interesting is the fact that by observing you might cause a collapse of the “real” event or the observation, something called the collapse of the wave function. This will of course have implications on our understanding of science and how we interpret our results. Does modern science really present the truth about our existence?
Quantum theory states that an electron is a point particle and the wave function of the electron spread over space. Further this means that there is a finite probability that particles may “tunnel” through space, and make a quantum leap through impenetrable barriers. It would, according to modern physics, at least theoretically, be possible for information or even matter to penetrate space and matter. It would then be possible to access higher dimensions or vice versa. If quantum mechanics were wrong you could not possibly listen to beautiful music which represents wave functions of dancing electrons 10, 11, 12.
Roger Penrose is one of the leading British physicists of our time. In his opinion, consciousness is a quantum phenomenon 13 since neurons are too big to account for consciousness. Penrose believes that consciousness is a manifestation of the quantum cytoskeleton state and its interplay between quantum and classical levels of activity. The brain could actually work as an interface between matter and spirit. Others like Reinis et al 14, have equally discussed that parallel and serial interactions between millions of neurons take a very long time, too long for individuals to adequate normal interaction with the environment. Electrons fill a large space and its precise position cannot be exactly determined when moving.
It is now becoming increasingly clear through systematic observations of fetal behavior that babies have a consciousness far beyond what we have previously thought. They seem to hear before they have ears, see before they have eyes and move gracefully and spontaneously before they have much brain 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
During deeper states of hypnosis my clients report themselves as spiritual beings. Surprisingly this happens just as often to those without a religious belief, as those belonging to a specific religion. They report themselves as spiritual beings with a very high degree of integrity and consciousness, far beyond that which we currently understand.
By using imagery and hypnosis we challenge old ways of thinking and sensing. The brains right hemisphere becomes active, which can be monitored with electroencephalogram (EEG). And there is evidence enough to suggest altered brain waves from normal awakening and through altered states of consciousness. Theta (4-8 Hz) waves are particularly important signs, but also different amplitudes and localization of alpha (8-12 Hz) – and beta (12-19+ Hz) waves are present 21, 22, 23. This is further supported by studies showing increase of occipital regional Cerebral Blood Flow (rCBF) and delta activity during EEG 24.
The imagery process will challenge thinking and our sense of control. Hypnotherapeutic sessions suddenly disclose processes that are usually protected by barriers of consciousness. Because by living under the illusions that we have control and can master our reality, we can remove uncertainties and what is worst of all, fear. One of the reasons Sigmund Freud turned away from hypnosis was this lack of control. Instead he chose the path of control and catharsis through psychoanalysis.
Traditional psychiatric methods like medication with hypnotics and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, usually use cure and consciousness to understand and cope with psychiatric symptoms. Hypnosis searches the subconscious mind in order to identify the origin of the illness. Its dynamic is short termed, and it emphasizes causes rather than symptoms, explanations rather than descriptions and subconscious instead of conscious forces as the cause of the pathology.
Despite its past, hypnosis have survived the controversies, mistrust, and open hostility, to reach its present position where it has now been suggested as therapy provided through the National Health Service 25.
Second part tomorrow and third and last part on 4th March together with a complete reference. Welcome!